Oxota : a short Russian novel

by Hejinian, Lyn,

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Display FICTION Hejinian
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Display
Call Number  FICTION Hejinian
A verse novel composed of 14-line stanzas inspired by Pushkin's Evgeny Onegin

Over the course of nearly a decade (1983?1991), author Lyn Hejinian visited the USSR seven times, staying frequently with her friends the poet Arkadii Dragomoshchenko and his wife Zina in Leningrad. During this period, she embarked on translating into English several volumes of Dragomoshcheko's poetry, and the two poets began an extensive correspondence, exchanging hundreds of letters until Dragomoshchenko's death in 2012. During her fifth visit, in conversation with Dragomoshchenko and other poets, she decided to write a novel reflecting her experiences of literary and lived life in Leningrad and Moscow. Cognizant of a general sense that the Russian novel is stereotypically "long," she determined that hers would be "short." What resulted is an experimental novel whose structure (284 chapters, each 14 lines long) pays homage to Alexander Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, which is generally regarded to be the first Russian novel: a verse novel composed in 14-line stanzas. From time to time, various members of Dragomoshchenko's circle of friends offered suggestions for the novel, as readers will note. There's abundant narrative content, but anecdotes and events are presented in non-linear form, since they unfolded over extended periods of time and thus came to Hejinian's attention piecemeal. Oxota (which means variously "huntress," "hunt," and "desire" in Russian) is a novel in which contexts, rather than contents, are kept in the foreground. Allen Ginsberg, who himself visited the USSR, did not like Oxota. He said that it wasn't realistic; Hejinian thinks that it is.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "The 12th collection from poet, essayist, and translator Hejinian (The Book of a Thousand Eyes) offers a "short Russian novel" modeled after Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. A nearly 4,000-line epic composed of 271 separate 14-line poems across eight books, Wesleyan's reissue of Oxota (The Figures, 1991) includes Hejinian's corrections, reinsertions, and revisions, providing a new opportunity for readers to experience what Marjorie Perloff called one of "the most ambitious long poems of the nineties" and "one of the very best." The text itself reflects Hejinian's stays and correspondence with poet Arkadii Dragomoshchenko in Leningrad at the end of the Cold War. Travel, recollected conversation, and scenes of domesticity punctuate a through line of nuclear anxiety: "My language is an X turning with the hands of two clocks on a face over the eye," she writes. The result is a multifaceted portrait series in verse, one acutely aware of its historical moment, and the distinctions and connections between peoples "occupied with production, but these are our times of mute people." Oxota shows us a poet whose person and politics waver between two worlds, one informing the other. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
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Additional Information
Series Wesleyan poetry.
Subjects Desire -- Fiction.
Russia (Federation) -- Intellectual life -- 21st century -- Fiction.
Novels in verse.
Experimental fiction.
Publisher Middletown, Connecticut :Wesleyan University Press,2019
Edition Revised edition.
Other Titles Evgeniĭ Onegin.
Contributors Pushkin, Aleksandr Sergeevich, 1799-1837. Evgeniĭ Onegin.
Language English
Description 298 pages ; 21 cm.
ISBN 9780819578761
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